BACAHS wins Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row!

BACAHS learned today that it is named American Harp Society Chapter of the Year for 2016-17.  In an email Cheryl Dungan Cunningham, President, AHS writes:

Dear Susie & Alice,

I am happy to inform you that the AHS Executive Committee has selected the Bay Area Chapter as the AHS 2016-2017 Chapter of the Year at its meeting yesterday morning.  Please let me know if anyone from your chapter will be attending the 2017 AHS Summer Institute who would be available to accept the award on behalf of the chapter at the Annual Members Meeting.  It starts at 3:30 PM on Sunday, June 25th in Boe Memorial Chapel on the campus of St. Olaf College.

Congratulations!

Sincerely,

Cheryl
Cheryl Dungan Cunningham, President
American Harp Society, Inc.
www.harpsociety.org

Congratulations and hearty THANK YOU to all the members who have worked so hard and participated in whatever ways possible to earn this award!  Check out BACAHS’s winning application.

 

Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Harp Competition Winners Announced!

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, 37 harpists between the ages of 6 and 18, converged upon the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC) in Foster City, California, with harps and benches in tow to compete in the biennial Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competition for Young Harpists.  An esteemed panel of judges, Celia Chan-Valero, Karen Gottlieb, and Madeline Jarzembek, listened thoughtfully, provided positive feedback and identified awards for these high-achieving young people.

The winners by division and their teachers are:

Award Level Winner Teacher
Preliminary Division-up to and including age 9
Gold Charlotte Trinh Dominique Piana
Silver-tie Emilie Campbell Jacqueline Venter
Silver-tie Anton Taffin Lynn Taffin
Harpiana Prize Emilie Campbell Jacqueline Venter
MusicWorks Prize Charlotte Trinh Dominique Piana
Level 1-up to and including age 12
Gold Sophia Shan Linda Rollo
Silver Aden Eva Barbuta Jacquelyn Venter
Bronze David Lin Dan Levitan
Harpiana Prize David Lin Dan Levitan
MusicWorks Prize Aden Eva Barbuta Jacquelyn Venter
Level 2-up to and including age 15
Gold Danielle Nam Linda Rollo & Sonya Yu
Silver Judy Liu Linda Wood Rollo
Bronze-tie Hannah Ewell Kristal Schwartz Barlaan
Bronze-tie Kartika Santoso Sonya Yu
Harpiana Prize Margaret (Meg) Larsen Dominique Piana
MusicWorks Prize Judy Liu Linda Wood Rollo
MusicWorks Prize-Honorable Mention Hannah Ewell Kristal Schwartz Barlaan
Level 3-up to and including age 18
Gold Tiffany Wong Linda Wood Rollo
Silver Elizabeth Vo – Phamhi Doug Rioth
Bronze Karissa Yau Sonya Yu
Harpiana Prize Shannon Zheng Dominique Piana
MusicWorks Prize Tiffany Wong Linda Wood Rollo

Congratulations to all who participated!

Many thanks go out to the teachers who worked so hard with their students to help them prepare for the competition.

Also THANK YOU to our team of volunteers:  Aruna Bhasker, Constance Koo, Daphanie Lin, Janice Ortega, Krista Strader, Melinda Chinn, Sarah Goss, Silvia Pratt, Sonya Yu, and Suki Russack.  This competition could not happen without you!

And finally, gratitude goes to the Competition Committee:  Dominique Piana, Artistic Director and Chairperson, Alice Yothers and Susie Spiwak.

Come out and celebrate the achievements of the young harpists and hear beautiful music next Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 2:00pm, when the Bay Area Chapter of the American Harp Society will present the winners of the biennial Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Harp Competition in recital at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville.

This concert, “Romancing the Harp” will be featured as part of the International Harp Festival sponsored by Diablo Valley Arts Academy at San Damiano Retreat, located at 710 Highland Drive, in Danville, CA 94526. General admission is $20 and $12 for students up to age 18. Tickets can be ordered in advance at harpfestival.org/register or purchased at the door.

Participants will perform compositions by harp pedagogues Susann McDonald and Linda Wood Rollo, harpists-composers Andrès, Godefroid, Grandjany, Hasselmans, Pratt, Renié and Salzedo, as well as composers such as Albeniz, Dussek, Liszt, Purcell and others.

Guest artist Madeline Jarzembak will crown the recital with two brilliant virtuoso works, Die Moldau by Smetana, as arranged for harp by Hans Trneček, and Carlos Salzedo’s Variations sur un thème dans le style ancien. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Madeline is Principal Harp of the Santa Cruz Symphony, and studies currently at the San Francisco Conservatory with Doug Rioth of the San Francisco Symphony.

 

Harp News of Summer

Dear BACAHS Members and Friends,

Well, our prolific harp year is winding down, but not yet over! We’re gearing up for our biennial Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competition for Young Harpists, Sunday, May 21, at a new location, the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC). Volunteers are needed, so please consider signing up. Then the Winners’ Recital will follow a week later at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville. The final event of the year will be a master class and concert by Katherine Siochi, AHS Concert Artist, and Gold Medal Winner of the 10th International Harp Competition. Don’t miss it!

We are also announcing the term-end of our present slate of board members. Don’t worry, you’re not being left in the lurch! We’ve managed to assemble a stellar group of newcomers to the board – but not to the harp! Read on to see who will be taking over the reins and leading the 2017-2019 season. And thank you to our faithful colleagues on the present executive board as well as those who have served throughout the term who join us in welcoming our successors: Secretary Henry Heines, and Treasurer Melinda Chin, Suki Russack, Alexandra Perdew, Erica Messer, David Trapp, and Mitch Landy and Jim Ward who will both stay on to help the new crew. It’s been a great ride, with many highlights, not the least of which was being recognized by AHS as “Chapter of the Year 2015-2016”. Thank you to all who made this possible!

Please read on to see what’s happening in Member News and our Calendar of Events and don’t forget to follow and like us on Facebook and Instagram!

Happy Harping!
Alice and Susie


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Alice Yothers
by Jennifer Ellis

Author’s note: Hello! My name is Jennifer Ellis and I am inheriting our Member Spotlight column from Suki Russak. I want to give a huge thank you to Suki for founding the column! It’s a wonderful way to learn about the multitalented people that make up our chapter. I’m honored to have the opportunity to learn more of our members’ stories. This issue, we feature our out-going chapter president, Alice Yothers.

Thank you, Madam President!

Alice Yothers is finishing her term as our indomitable BACAHS president. She is a two-term president of our chapter and BACAHS has thrived under her leadership. She wrote a short note for the Members Spotlight column about her journey to becoming BACAHS President which is included in full below. It’s followed by an interview focusing on her experience as president.

In Alice’s own words: My mother was a piano teacher, and I began piano lessons with her at age six. I quickly learned to read music, but I took any correction by her so personally that I dropped out of formal instruction not long after starting. I continued to listen to her as she taught other children and then I would take the same music and learn it on my own. That makes for a strong reader with no technique! I spent many years playing on my own with her gentle corrections in the background (play slowly and COUNT!) I briefly took lessons from a very accomplished pianist while in grade school but he wasn’t much of a teacher and basically let me do whatever I wanted to. I took up flute in junior high school and had fun with it but never took it very seriously, letting other interests compete for practice time.

Fast forward far into the future to my (ahem) middle years. My brother had married a lovely woman whom I heard played the “folk harp” – whatever that was! We planned a visit with them over Christmas one year and she said to bring my flute so that we could play Christmas carols together. Well, that was the first time I had even seen a small harp and after getting my hands on it, any intimidation was gone. I ended up buying it from her since she was moving on to a larger one. Armed with Sylvia Woods’s Teach Yourself To Play the Folk Harp book and video, I ventured forth. The video lasted one session and then I shelved it and just started reading the pieces from the book and limping along. This lasted a year. During that time I heard of a conference called Beginning in the Middle, which was coming to Santa Rosa. I signed up for it and braved it by myself, sensing that I was to meet up with some inspiration. Well, I DID. Although I felt very unworthy and insecure about why I was there, I found some women who welcomed me into their group and encouraged me. This began my journey into harp study and discovering that I was “falling in love” with my harp! I first became involved with Harpers Hall folk harp group but soon realized pedal harp repertoire was more appealing to me. I bought a gorgeous sounding Camac Clio, which I enjoyed for 11 years before replacing it with my equally gorgeous sounding Camac Atlantide.

Over the subsequent years, I have studied with several wonderful teachers, including Janice Ortega, Jessica Siegel and Dominique Piana, and been inspired by many others through concerts and master classes. I have Janice, Jessica and Karen Gottlieb to thank for twisting my arm to become involved with BACAHS, where I have served in various capacities over the past 11 years. During this involvement I have enjoyed organizing concerts and master classes, creating and editing newsletters, and promoting the harp to the community.

Many times I’ve wondered how things would have been different had I discovered the harp as a child. Or even if I had had it when my children were small. I could have used that outlet and fulfillment a lot earlier! But I truly appreciate what I have now and how the harp has shaped my life in so many positive ways and brought me so many valued friendships and enriched my very being. I know it will be an integral part of me for the rest of my life. Having begun harp study as a mature adult, there are so many pieces yet to learn. It’s an exciting prospect!

Advice for our Members: A Conversation with Alice

When I asked Alice what she most enjoyed about being the BACAHS president, she responded, “I loved being involved in everything.” She loved engaging in the full gamut of activities, explaining that she liked “just making things happen: hosting artists, planning get-togethers, just being involved in it all.” Reflecting back on her presidency, she describes it as “rewarding, and fun, and very worthwhile.”

Discussing what most surprised her in her time as president, she remarked that, as a “late-comer” to the harp and someone who identified as an amateur, she wasn’t initially sure how the chapter would receive her as a president. In the midst of a chapter with so many accomplished members, Alice recalled, “From the very beginning, I felt very unworthy, of course.” But she was happily surprised that amateur and professional harpists alike gave her “the respect for the position and gratitude.” She reflected, “Whatever I was doing was appreciated…whatever I was doing was being recognized.”

Alice notes that the biggest challenge of being president is getting the member support and volunteers to do the work this chapter needs to function. To offer the services the chapter offers, it needs people who are willing to donate their time. In particular, she praised Vice President Susie Spiwak, citing the way she stepped up to the plate: “We have just worked so well together and she was just—her strengths were my weaknesses,” Alice said. “[Susie] has fueled my energy.”

Our new board for 2017-2018 is largely made up of first-time board members. When I asked what advice she has for this and future boards, Alice advocated for boards to draw upon their own sense of inspiration and unique strengths to keep promoting the membership. She noted that professional harpists have to work collaboratively and avoid the pitfalls of self-promotion. So long as the promotion and support of the full breadth of the chapter is the primary overriding goal, the chapter will be in good hands.

If you are considering joining our local board, Alice recommended letting the current board know of your interest and to start attending events! She said there’s nothing to be intimidated by, just dive in and start talking to current board members. Expect to put in your own efforts, she insists, especially for any pet project that you want the board to take on; ideas don’t turn into reality without people willing to do the work to actually implement them. But, if you are willing to help, the board is a very accessible place.

Finally, I asked her to share some of the things she’s listening to these days. She admits her listening is pretty “eclectic” and that no one genre represents all sides of her. She has no interest in being “rigid” about her tastes and likes exploring. Recently, she’s been on an unexpected Credence Clearwater Revival kick (her new house is up in the Lodi area and she discovered they have a song called Lodi). She’s been enjoying listening to some oldies and some of the more mellow Christian contemporary songs like those by Fernando Ortega. She also talked about the effect the chapter has had on her listening habits. For example, initially, she didn’t gravitate towards jazz—and recounted even telling harpist Park Stickney, “I don’t like jazz!” But, through her involvement with the chapter, her perspective has changed. As she’s gone to more and more jazz harp concerts of our members, she’s found herself enjoying jazz works that she wouldn’t have listened to in the past. The jazz harpists in our membership have inspired her and she now approaches jazz with a fresh perspective. For Alice, regardless of the genre, the key thing is melody. Whether Christian contemporary or classical or jazz, Alice says “It has to have melody… I have to have something to hang my hat on!”

Alice, we thank you for your hard work, dedication, and years of service. We wish you all the best!


CHAPTER NEWS:

New Board formed for BACAHS: As the current Board of Directors term comes to an end June 1, a number of members have stepped up to steer the chapter in the coming years. It’s a great group who are eager for your input and with that will plan to bring diverse programming to meet the needs of the chapter and its members.

The new board is comprised of the following people:
Meredith Clark, President
Krista Strader, Co-Vice President and Secretary
Kristin Lloyd, Co-Vice President
Constance Koo, Treasurer
Sarah Goss, Membership
Jennifer Ellis, Newsletter Editor including Member Spotlight column
Dana Wallace, Marketing/Website Administrator.
Jim Ward, Web Master
Brian Swager, Member-at-large
Mitch Landy, voice of reason and Facebook support

Out-going board members will become part of the Advisory Board to support and assist in the transition and as needed going forward. In addition, the Board welcomes the involvement of members through committees, events planning, volunteering, etc.


BACAHS Survey: In order to better plan programming for the chapter, the Board needs your input. They have developed a short survey to seek your opinions, expectations and ways you want to participate in the chapter. Please complete the survey as soon as you can. We’d like to start calculating the results within a week and we’ll report back to you in the next newsletter. Get started by clicking here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WYRG6W7


PLEASE NOTE–THERE IS A NEW LOCATION FOR THE YVONNE LAMOTHE SCHWAGER COMPETITION: Because the Bay-to-Breakers road race is happening in San Francisco on Sunday, May 21, the bi-annual Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competition for Young Harpists is moved and will take place at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC). PJCC is located at 800 Foster City Blvd in Foster City. There are a record number of students participating in the competition—39 people signed up from under age 9 through 25. Come out and listen to the students play—or better yet, volunteer to help out during the day. If you are interested, please email bacahs@gmail.com


The Winners’ Recital follows on Sunday, May 28, at 2pm. It is being held in conjunction with the International Harp Festival at San Damiano Retreat in Danville. Come for the recital and stay for the concert by Deborah Henson-Conant that evening. Information and tickets are available at http://www.harpfestival.org/register

There are also still full-day commuter scholarships and 3 free concert tickets at IHF available to members of BACAHS. Concert performances include The Admiral Launch Duo; Felice Pomeranz and Frank Voltz; Barbary Grant and Kim Robertson; and Deborah Henson-Conant. Email bacahs@gmail.com to reserve your free ticket on a first-come, first-served basis.


American Harp Society Concert Artist and Gold Medal Winner of the 10th International Harp Competition, Katherine Siochi, visits the Bay Area on Sunday, June 11, for a Master Class and Solo Recital. Katherine is presenting recitals and masterclasses in over 20 cities across the US, and joins us before her time as AHS Concert Artist comes to an end in late June. Other honors include first prize in the junior division of the American String Teachers Association, winner of the Anne Adams Awards, winner of the Aspen Music Festival harp competition, and first prize in the Advanced Division of the American Harp Society. Her performances have been featured twice on NPR’s radio program “From The Top,” on New York Public Radio for WQXR’s “Young Artist Showcase,” and on “Performance Today.” Please join us in hosting her master class and what’s sure to be an incredible solo performance. Visit bacharp.org/coming-events/ for tickets and information.


Let’s Get Social! Internet users! Are you on Facebook? If so, please like our page www.facebook.com/bayareaharp! We’ll post upcoming events, photos, news, and all things related to you, our fellow bay area harpists! We want to see all things harp that are happening in the area, and this gives you the opportunity to share and interact with us without waiting for the next newsletter. Thanks for the likes!


MEMBER NEWS:

Jennifer R. Ellis has an upcoming performance at the Starline Social Club in Oakland, CA at 7:30 p.m. on May 13th where she will be playing works by Elliot Cole, Doug Balliett, and Brad Balliett as part of the Mainline Music Concert Series with Oracle Hysterical. Beautiful genre-crossing music, the works will include Babinagar, a song cycle based on an Afghani folktale.

She also has upcoming residencies with Admiral Launch Duo and Seen/Heard Trio at Avaloch and she will be an artist-in-residence working with the composition department at UC Davis next season.

Jennifer will also perform at Boris Goldmund’s The Monthly Salon on Sunday, May 14, at the Forest Hill district home of Peter Grunberg and John Wyatt Nelson. For more information visit http://themonthlysalon.com/.


Jessica Siegel and Harps Etc. welcome students participating the Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Harp Competition to attend the International Harp Festival on May 27 and 28 as their guest! Many workshops on these days focus on the student harpist. Visit harpfestival.org for the full schedule of workshops and concerts including “Taming your Butterflies: Managing performance anxiety” and “Working for a Living: How to make a living as a harpist workshops”; and concerts by Deborah Henson-Conant and Barbary Grant and Kim Robertson. To make your reservation, please contact Harps Etc. at info@harpsetc.com or call 800-836-5559.


Anna Maria Mendieta is performing a multimedia concert-show featuring Harp, Strings, Percussion, and Dance (Tango & Flamenco). They tour all over the United States and will be touring China later this year. This is the first time it will be performed in San Francisco. With one concert only, she would love to invite our wonderful harp community to attend.

“Tango Del Cielo”
Concert-Show
Sunday, June 4th – 3:00pm
Marines Memorial Theater
609 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Tickets: www.CityBoxOffice.com/TangoDelCielo
(415) 392-4400

Anna Maria says: The program is a fun and entertaining program with music and dance (tango and flamenco) and a tribute to the silent movies, since it was through the silent movies that tango was brought to the United States…and on a side note since you’re harpists, my great aunt Nita Naldi was Rudolf Valentino’s co-star for many movies – and she played the HARP too!! (See photo above from one of her movies with Valentino.)

All revolves around the harp as the main instrument in this concert. So, it is especially apropos to invite the harp community.
The concert, a fundraiser to finish the recording project being recorded at Skywalker Ranch, features Argentine tangos arranged for Anna-Maria for harp and orchestra by Piazzolla’s friends and musicians. Most of them are multi Grammy Award winners in their own right and the music promises to be amazing! The project has been more than a year in the making…and they are very excited to be finishing the project this fall.


COMING EVENTS/CALENDAR—Check out the calendar at bacharp.org to get the details on upcoming events including Boris’ Salon on January 14, BACAHS Annual Potluck on January 15, and much much more!  Please post your events to the BACAHS gmail calendar viewed at http://bacharp.org/calendar-2/. If you do not already have access to post and would like to do so, contact us at bacahs@gmail.com.


CLASSIFIED ADS Check out the great harps and accessories for rent and sale recently added to the Classified Ads page.  If you need to list your harp or accessories, fill out the form on the classifieds page. If you have a listing that is no longer current, please let us know at bacahs@gmail.com


MEMBERSHIP Thank you to all who have joined the chapter or renewed your membership in BACAHS. If you have not done so already, please join or renew now. The membership year begins September 1 and goes through August 2017. Although you may be a member of the American Harp Society at the National level, we hope you will join the Bay Area Chapter as well.

The Chapter serves to meet the need to share information, promote and foster an appreciation of the harp as a musical instrument in the Bay Area, and further harp education at all levels. Your support enables continued sponsorship of harp programs and master classes.

Visit BACHARP.org/membership. The Bay Area Chapter of the American Harp Society is a 501(c)3 corporation and, as such, both membership dues and all donations are tax-deductible, to the full extent allowed by law.

What’s Going On!

Dear BACAHS Members and Friends,

Our harp community is vibrant! With so many things going on, it’s hard to keep up and speaks to the talent we have among us. To keep you better informed, BACAHS has embraced social media. Follow and Like us on Instagram and Facebook. Post your events and musings and contribute to our dynamic community!

Did you participate in the fun and informative weekend with Susann McDonald? In conjunction with the Silicon Valley Chapter, 23 Students performed under Miss McDonald’s tutelage and over 40 auditors, some coming from as far away as Arizona, observed and learned from this revered teacher. The weekend culminated with an intimate luncheon where she shared her passion for the harp and teaching. Check out Brian Swager’s article.

Member Spotlight is on Amelia Romano, who with her trio All That Bad, releases their digital album, “New Perspectives” on March 17 with a concert at Center For New Music. We’ll be there, sponsoring a reception afterwards, to get to know this innovative and talented harpist.

Don’t forget to let us know if you are interested in submitting your name for a drawing toward two commuter scholarships to the International Harp Festival at San Damiano Conference Center during Memorial Day Weekend. The scholarship is transferrable, so if you win but can’t attend all days, you may share extra days with friends. Email bacahs@gmail.com if you want your name in the drawing that will be held during the last week of March.

2017 is the celebration of the 100th birthday of great American composer, artist, writer, activist Lou Harrison (1917 – 2003). Many of the local arts organizations are celebrating and we would be remiss if we did not join in the festivities. Read Mitch Landy’s review of the recent Other Minds Festival 22 concert featuring his work in which Meredith Clark performed. And plan to attend upcoming performances from this same group in which Meredith again will perform and from SFCMP where Karen Gottlieb will perform Harrison’s works. Check out the calendar for more information!

And huge thank you to all who contributed to this newsletter—especially Suki, Brian, and Mitch—great work!! Thank you also to Ellis Schuman for sharing photo memories of harp greats, past and present!

We hope you enjoy this jam-packed issue!

Happy Harping!
Alice and Susie


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Amelia Romano
by Suki Russack

If you want to be among those who can say “I knew her when…”, then come to hear Amelia Romano’s show, Friday, March 17th, at 7:30pm, at the Center for New Music. Joined by her trio, “All That Bad,” she will be celebrating the digital release of her album, “New Perspectives.” She is among the new generation of dynamite singer/songwriter/ harpists who live and perform in the Bay Area. Her work is lively and interesting and will open your ears to new and vital harp sounds and rhythms and an invitation to see and hear the harp in a different light.

Amelia began her studies when she was in fourth grade with Diana Stork and was a founding member of the Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble. Locally born and bred, she attended San Francisco School of the Arts High School (SOTA).

While earning her BA at UC Berkeley, Amelia studied harp privately with Cheryl Ann Fulton. Upon completing her degree, she headed to Cape Town, South Africa, in the summer of 2010 to work on behalf of the Playing for Change Foundation at a township music school. Armed with several harpsicle harps, she set out to share her passion for music with young people living in post-apartheid South Africa. Amelia explained, “Music is part of the environment there but there is limited opportunity for the children to receive any formal training.” During her stay she wrote a blog detailing her work with the school community. Her time spent in South Africa deeply informed and shaped her new work featured on “New Perspectives”. The songs tell a story of her journey to maturity.

Since returning to the states, she formed StringQuake in 2012 with cellist Misha Khalikulov, a SOTA alumnus: www.stringquake.com. She will be featuring her newest collaboration at the Center for New Music, “All That Bad” with another SOTA alumnus, trumpeter Matt Ebisuzaki, and bassist Tim Renner.

Amelia is grateful to be a member of BACAHS. “BACAHS keeps myself and other
harpists connected to the diverse network of talent active in the Bay Area harp community, while creating a platform to hear independent voices like my own.”

Amelia plays a Camac Electric Lever Harp which has a pick-up on each string. The tones and textures of her instrument differ from either traditional pedal harp or folk harp. Amelia plays her instrument standing so she can sing with power and conviction. She has an astonishing command of pitch and vocal color. Her new album is a wonderful collection of work, both vocal and instrumental. It will be digitally available on March 17 at Amazon, Bandcamp, and www.ameliaromano.com.

Concert tickets are available at Center for New Music. Plan to stay after the concert and visit with Amelia and her group. BACAHS is hosting a Meet the Artists reception in their honor.


CHAPTER NEWS:

Teachers, work with your Students up to age 25 to get ready for the Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competion for Young Harpists to be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This is a great opportunity for young people to practice their performance and competition techniques and earn cash prizes. The winners of each age group and special prize will perform at the Winners’ Recital that will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the San Damiano Retreat Center at 2:00pm. Madeline Jarzembak, new Principal Harp with the Santa Cruz Symphony, will be the featured performer, in addition to the student competition winners. Repertoire, Guidelines and Registration are available at http://bacharp.org/competitions/ Entries must be received by May 1, 2017.


The Bay Area Chapter of the American Harp Society has agreed to be a sponsor of the 2017 International Harp Festival, May 25-28, 2017, at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA. As a benefit to our membership, scholarships will be awarded to two BACAHS members, to be determined in a random drawing by the chapter board. Each scholarship is for the full registration fee of the IHF, which allows the winner entry to all of the workshops and concerts at the Festival (a $450 value). Lodging and food may be purchased separately at http://www.harpfestival.org.

The deadline has been extended, so if you wish your name to be placed into the drawing pool for one of the scholarships, please email bacahs@gmail.com, by March 15, 2017, and let us know of your interest. The winners will be notified during the last week of March 2017. You must be a BACAHS member to be eligible.

Guest artists and presenters for the Festival include Kim Robertson, Julie Ann Smith, Frank Voltz, Jennifer Ellis, Johathan Hulting-Cohen, Jessica Siegel, Felice Pomeranz, and the winners of the Yvonne Lamothe Schwager Competition for Young Harpists, together with guest artist Madeline Jarzembak. Workshop topics will include Teaching Tactics, Preparing for your Career, Jazz Improvisation for Lever and Pedal Harps, Celtic Music, Editing and Arranging Music, Basic Composition, Healing Harps, Intro to Chamber Music, plus many more. Visit http://www.harpfestival.org for full information.


Let’s Get Social! BACAHS is upping its social media presence! Check out our new Facebook and Instagram pages, and help us post up a storm. We’ll be posting photos and events, but want to hear from you about what you’re doing! From concert hall photos, to harpist sightings, and home practice photos, tag us in your IG photos and use the hashtags #shareyourharp #bacahs #harp and whatever else suits the photo! Can’t wait to share all the likes and #harplove


Are you interested in getting more involved in your Chapter? The 2016-2017 term for the current officers will end May 30, 2017. The new board is in formation. There are many opportunities to get involved, whether on the Board, as Committee Head or solely as a volunteer on an ad hoc basis. Please get involved and keep the momentum of the chapter going. For more information and to express your interest, please contact Alice at aeyothers@gmail.com (note new address) or Susie at bacahs@gmail.com.


Benefit for BACAHS members: BACAHS joined the Center for New Music (C4NM) at 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco. C4NM offers rehearsal, meeting and performance space to its members at reduced rates. If you are interested in learning more about renting the space, contact Susie Spiwak at bacahs@gmail.com. You can check out the space when you attend Amelia’s concert on March 17!


Inspiring Bay Area Weekend with Susann McDonald
by Brian Swager

The Bay Area was fortunate to welcome America’s premier harp teacher, Susann McDonald, for a weekend of events at the end of February. During two master classes, in San Jose and San Francisco, 22 harpists played a wide variety of music, and numerous auditors benefitted as well from Miss McDonald’s informative teaching and the inspiring performances. Many adult harpists and teachers from all over the Bay Area and beyond gathered for an informal “Recharging Your Passion” conversation and luncheon where Susann McDonald and Linda Rollo spoke about the creation of their teaching materials and answered questions on a wide range of topics.

Several themes emerged from the sessions. Miss McDonald stressed the importance of rhythmic accuracy and encouraged students to count and subdivide often rather than trusting their inner sense of rhythm. She mentioned that a rhythmic foundation is also important in ritards. The topic of playing from memory came up repeatedly in all sessions. She believes that it is essential to get in the habit of playing solo literature from memory and encouraged beginning that process as soon as possible, for example, within a week of starting to learn a new piece. She believes that, especially with the harp, the score is a distraction both for the player—as it takes our eyes away from the strings which brings many pitfalls, from getting lost to buzzing—and for the audience, as the music stand usually hides our hands from them. In order to give your full artistic sense, your heart and soul, playing from memory allows us to be at one with the music and connect better with the audience. Regarding harmonics, she told of how her teacher Henriette Renié taught her to make a graph of harmonics to provide a visual image of where on the strings to find the sweetest spot, lower or higher depending on whether the string is flat, sharp, or natural. She talked of maintaining the space between the thumb and index finger (RH), and that the thicker the string is, the more pressure that is necessary with the palm (LH). She encouraged several students to make more substantial bass sound since it often doesn’t carry well, and she recalled that Mademoiselle Renié loved bass and would often say, “give me a good bass.” She also related thatRenié only knew one word in English which she would shriek often: “Relax!!!”

Regarding tone quality, she reminded us to remember to ask ourselves often: “Is it a pretty, beautiful sound?” She also said that we always need to be thinking: “Are we singing?” She encouraged us to think of ourselves not as instrumentalists, merely playing notes and plucking strings, but rather, seeking a vocal, singing, graceful quality. Jessica Siegel commented after one of the classes that Susann McDonald “has an uncanny way of changing the tone of a single note to make the phrase more beautiful and expressive. Her musicianship is outstanding, and she can convey her ideas in a way that the student can respond to play more musically.” Miss McDonald’s joyful, supportive, and encouraging energy was palpable, and Linda Rollo remarked that she has a way of always focusing on the strong points of students. Two harpists who had studied with McDonald at the Juilliard School, Maria Casale and Sarah Voynow, voiced their great appreciation for her constant positive energy which they found invaluable as students.

Several in attendance commented on the variety of repertoire heard, which included several lesser-known pieces published by Dominique Piana’s Harpiana Publications. Many thanks to the boards and members of both the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area chapters who helped make the event so successful, and especially to Linda Rollo who played an integral role.


MEMBER NEWS:

Do you ever wonder what to wear for lessons, recitals, and everything in between? Read Carla Fabris’ article, “Fashion Forward” in the March/April 2017 issue of Harp Column. She unfolds the mystery (or quandary) of “What is appropriate generally and in an overall sense for the modern harpist?” Congratulations, Carla, on the publication of this informative and relevant article!


Karen Gottlieb wants to let you know that the article, “Contracts for the Freelance Harpist: Their Importance and What to Include,” originally published in BACAHS Newsletter, January 2017, has been accepted for publication by the American Harp Society Journal. The Journal board loved the idea that it was a collaborative effort by many members of BACAHS–so kudos to all of us. Many thanks for your contributions. Karen will let us know when to anticipate seeing the article in this national magazine since the publication date is not yet confirmed.


Dr. Diana Rowan’s Virtual Harp Summit 2 runs FREE March 9-15.
Get your free invitation here (necessary for logging in): http://virtualharpsummit.com/
Learn from 25+ master harpists from all over the world, right in your living room.
Virtual Harp Summit 2’s theme is “Technique!” Visit http://virtualharpsummit.com/ to view the teaching and performing roster, plus get your invitation.

Diana Rowan also has many upcoming performances. Please visit https://dianarowan.com/events to view


Jessica Schaeffer performs “Songs of Isaiah” with Bay Choral Guild this weekend, March 3-5. Check out the calendar for additional details.


CONCERT REVIEW: Other Minds Festival 22 Celebrates Lou Harrison’s Centennial
by Mitch Landy

First I must say that I don’t think I’m qualified to review this concert of the Other Minds Festival 22 that took place on February 18 at Mission Dolores in San Francisco. I am a musician, but so is Mick Jagger. However, I am a fan of Lou Harrison. Before I moved to Berkeley in 1969 I had never heard of him. Then I heard his “Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra,” and I was smitten. This was a new musical world for me. And when I read that the suite would be on the program (and so would harpist Meredith Clark), I knew I had to attend.

The program included three other Harrison pieces unfamiliar to me, and three pieces by Isang Yun, a Korean composer I had never heard of. It seems that the one thing he had in common with Harrison was that both were born in 1917. His pieces – for solo violin, violin and piano, and piano solo – had a lyricism, but were not always easy on the ears. That said, the solo violin piece, “Kontraste” (Yun lived and taught in Berlin at the time) was played with marvelous sensitivity and control by Yumi Hwang-Williams, and was absolutely riveting. On the other two Yun works, Dennis Russell Davies, formerly known to me only as an orchestral conductor, played the piano. These two also played two movements from Harrison’s “Grand Duo for Violin and Piano.”

Now, of the four Lou Harrison works, the first – Sonata #3 for piano – was the only one on the program about which I can offer no praise. It dates from 1938, utilizing serial principles learned from Schoenberg; and I felt as though he was trying to make music in spite of the twelve-tone system. Fortunately, he moved on.

The “Air” and “Stampede” from Harrison’s “Grand Duo” (1988) had some attributes familiar to me from his other works: the piano at times suggestive of gamelan, and his lyrical voice in the Air, a powerful, shifting rhythm in the Stampede, with sparse accompaniment at times of single notes and double octaves in the piano. By the way, for those not familiar with Harrison’s work, he derived the term “stampede” from medieval dance forms called “estampie.” I suspect it was also a bit of a joke.

The intermission seemed way too long; but apparently, if you were waiting to use the inadequate toilet facilities, not long enough. Be warned, if you attend the second Lou Harrison concert on May 20. That program will include much more of our harpist Meredith Clark, who played in the “Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra,” which, disappointingly, did not display her virtuoso abilities to their fullest. The suite was, however, magnificent. One element of which I had been unaware was the use of a “tack” piano (with tacks inserted in the hammers), which provided a metallic pulse suggestive (again) of gamelan.

I must mention “Canticle No. 3,” an early work (1941) for percussion with the addition of ocarina and guitar. The guitar did not play a melodic solo role, as one might expect. Along with the ocarina, it provided more of structural punctuation. Incidentally, this was perhaps the first time I have heard a good use for ocarina – more sound effect than melody. One of the things I like about Harrison’s music is the rhythms – acrobatic, complex, and stimulating. I had never heard this piece before, and am glad to have done so.

I went with a composer friend who has had little regard for Harrison. His interests range from Morton Feldman to Karlheinz Stockhausen, and don’t generally include anything easy to listen to. He was delighted with the concert, and so was I. I look forward to May 20, and to hearing more of Ms. Clark. I will try to attend in a state of semi-dehydration. (I shall also bring a seat cushion. The pews are all wood.)

Editor’s Note: Karen Gottlieb will be involved in the Lou Harrison 2-day Festival with San Francisco Contemporary Music Players at Z Space. She is playing and speaking on April 22nd. The Movie about Lou’s Life, A World of Music will be featured on April 21st. Many of Lou’s pieces that Karen recorded are used in the sound track. Everything from the Koro Sutra Symphony #3 & 4 to Music for Harp and more. It also includes his building of the “straw bale composers cave” on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park as his home in the desert. Karen’s mother, the architect Lois Davidson Gottlieb, later did a number of remodels and additions to it.


HARP LEGACIES:

Do you recognize these harpists?                                                     

Photo on Left: Honoring Alice Chalifoux, Master Class and Luncheon, March 1986: Left to right–Karen Gottlieb, Ellis Schuman, Miss Chalifoux, Elvira Cassell, Doug Rioth, Roberta Peek, Michelle Sell, Faith Carman, Anne Adams
Photo on Right: Harpo Marx with his teacher, Mlle. Renie

Thank you Ellis for sharing these great memories!

COMING EVENTS/CALENDAR—Check out the calendar at bacharp.org to get the details on upcoming events including Boris’ Salon on January 14, BACAHS Annual Potluck on January 15, and much much more!  Please post your events to the BACAHS gmail calendar viewed at http://bacharp.org/calendar-2/. If you do not already have access to post and would like to do so, contact us at bacahs@gmail.com.

CLASSIFIED ADS Check out the great harps and accessories for rent and sale recently added to the Classified Ads page.  If you need to list your harp or accessories, fill out the form on the classifieds page. If you have a listing that is no longer current, please let us know at bacahs@gmail.com

 

Member events, updates, calling for member news

Our chapter members are performing in a variety of interesting and entertaining concerts and productions throughout the next month.

This coming weekend, February 10-12, Karen Gottlieb joins Opera Parallel in their production of “Flight”.  According to Tom Sutcliffe, The Evening Standard: “Flight is that rarest thing, a popular new comic opera… Dove’s music flies, the opera is fun, and people are going to love it.”   Performances are at YBCA Theater, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco.  For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://operaparallele.org/flight/

Also this weekend, on Saturday, February 11, Suki Russack and Henry Heines play Vaughan Williams and Strauss as part of the Redwood Symphony Orchestra Concert going on at  Canada College Theater, Building 3, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd, Redwood City.  For more information and to order tickets visit www.redwoodsymphony.org

Last Friday, Meredith Clark played Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro in a sold out performance with One Found Sound, a conductor-less chamber orchestra.  If you missed this show, Meredith plays Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra in the Other Minds Festival – February 18, 7:30pm, Mission Dolores Basilica.  Concert Info: http://otherminds.org/shtml/om22-info.shtml  Tickets available here: http://om22concertone.brownpapertickets.com/

Destiny Muhammad, coming off an incredibly successful engagement at SFJazz—so cool, Destiny!—let us know she’ll be doing more shows with her Jazz group around town throughout the coming months.  Destiny writes:  “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who came and wanted to come to enjoy my debut at SFJAZZ on Friday January 27, 2017. 2 SOLDOUT SHOWS!! The evening was MAGICAL!! THANK YOU SFJAZZ Staff & Crew, My AWESOME Musicians, Leon Joyce, Jr., Marcus Shelby, Laura Klein, Ranzel Merritt, Zena Carlota, & Rebecca Kleinmann. My WONDERFUL Husby/ Road Manager Cristwell Muhammad, Merchandise Crew Benny McKay & Arezoo Islami. The Photo Geniuses Joey Brite & James Knox and THE AUDIENCE! WOW! KaPOW! And The Most INFINITE Alice Turiya Coltrane: The Journey Continues….

Shortlist of Destiny’s Upcoming Performances:)

February
25 7pm California Jazz Conservatory w/ Steve McQuarry, Berkeley, CA

March
26 Heart & Soul Center of Light, Emeryville, CA
27 Freight & Salvage Judge for West Coast Songwriters, Berkeley, CA

March 3-5, Jessica Schaeffer performs with the Bay Choral Guild when it presents “Songs of Isaiah”.  At various Bay Area Venues.  For information and tickets visit http://baychoralguild.org/

Calling for Member News!  Our next newsletter will be distributed in early March.  Please drop us line at ayothers@yahoo.com with your updates so we can keep the other chapter members apprised of great harp and events of interest in the Bay Area.  Please post to the calendar at BACHARP.org—if you need an invitation to access it, let us know at bacahs@gmail.com.

 

New Year…New News!

Dear BACAHS Members and Friends,

 We hope to see many of you at the upcoming Winter Potluck this Sunday January 15 at 4 pm!  If you haven’t already contacted Alice with your dish choice, please do so soon.  We’re looking forward to great food and fellowship, as well as our second annual Music Swap, and a great program of harp and saxophone with the Admiral Launch Duo (see Member Spotlight to meet Jennifer Ellis).  Don’t miss it!

 Hot on its heels is the Bay Area Weekend with Susann McDonald, February 25, 26 and 28.  There are still some auditor slots open for the master classes, as well as seats for Recharging your Passion, for professionals and adult students.  Please RSVP!

 Karen Gottlieb is at it again with great tips for harpists.  Be sure to check out Contracts for Free-Lance Harpists this issue. 

 And read on to find out about the International Harp Festival scholarships we’re awarding some lucky BACAHS members.  Please let us know if you want your name in the drawing. 

 Karen Gottlieb is spearheading a recruitment drive for BACAHS board positions for the 2017-2019 tenure.  If you would like to find out how you can be a part of this vibrant board, please contact Karen at kgharp@pacbell.net or Susie Spiwak at bacahs@gmail.com.

 Happy Harping!

 Alice and Susie

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:  Jennifer Ellis by Suki Russack

Jennifer Ellis, harpist, performer, teacher, arranger, and all around nice person, is in the member spotlight because her Admiral Launch Duo will perform at the BACAHS annual Holiday Potluck on January 15.  Jennifer, who loves non-traditional musical collaboration and teaching, graciously shared her evolution in music that led to her collaboration for the duo with saxophonist, Jonathan Hulting-Cohen.

If you think loading a harp in a car is difficult, try fitting a harp, dolly, bench, luggage for two, mics and electronics equipment, and three saxophones in their hard cases!  Touring with such a cavalcade of instruments and equipment is always an adventure, but they both agree that the challenges are more than worth it. Jennifer and Jonathan met while in graduate school at the University of Michigan.  They were both enrolled in a large ensemble improvisation class. In those large group improvisations, they were fascinated by the sound of harp and saxophone together.   At the same time, they were enrolled in a music pedagogy course and discovered they shared similar philosophies of music and teaching. It was then that the musical duo was formed. They both saw the duo as a partnership of equals, not harp as accompaniment and saxophone as melody.

With harp and saxophone duos cropping up and commissioning pieces across Britain and the United States, Jennifer sees this instrumentation as a vibrantly growing genre of harp chamber music.  Both the sax and the double action harp were developed in France during a similar period and there are pre-existing pieces for the combination. However, in order to bring about a more contemporary sound, Jennifer and Jonathan have been actively commissioning composers, from Stephen Rush to Angelica Negron to Natalie Moller to Christine Hedden and others. The duo has been touring with this repertoire and will release their debut album in late 2017.  The album is being funded by a FRG-Healy grant out of the University of Massachusetts. Jennifer states “we’re always looking ahead to the next project and are always interested in new commissions from composers.  Both with the Admiral Launch Duo as well as in other settings, I really enjoy collaborating with composers to premiere new works for harp.” Jennifer has given over fifty premieres.

This past fall, Jennifer was selected to participate in OneBeat, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, & produced by Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation.  OneBeat brings musicians (ages 19-35) from around the world to the U.S. for one month each fall to collaboratively write, produce, and perform original music, and develop strategies for arts-based social engagement. Check out OneBeat’s website to learn more about the program.  Talk about making an impact with your music…Great work, Jennifer!

Jennifer is very grateful to her wonderful teachers who encouraged her in her career. She began her studies with BACAHS member Jessica Siegel, who gave her endless encouragement and a strong musical and technical foundation. She continued her studies with Yolanda Kondonassis, both at Oberlin for her undergraduate degree as well as the Cleveland Institute of Music for her Masters of Music degree.  She earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts in harp with additional certificates in musicology and teaching at the University of Michigan studying with Joan Holland.

Jennifer says she is grateful for the vibrant Bay Area Chapter of the AHS.  “I benefitted immensely by growing up in such a thriving and active AHS chapter.  BACAHS gave me access to unforgettable masterclasses with artists like Susann McDonald and Alice Giles.  And from a young age I was able to attend live concerts by world-class artists sponsored by the American Harp Society, including Isabelle Moretti and Dan Yu.  Finally, I was a frequent participant in our annual competition, which gave me valuable performance experience.  These concerts, masterclasses, and competitions inspired me to always strive for the next level of harp playing.”

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR HARPISTS

Contracts for the Freelance Harpist: Their Importance and What to Include

By Karen Gottlieb, Harpist and Harp Technician, 2017, with input from Meredith Clark, Jennifer Ellis, Constance Koo, Lynn Michel-Taffin, Diana Rowan, Jessica Schaeffer, Laura Simpson and Sarah Voynow.

Harpists spend many hours learning to play the harp…BUT…of equal importance as a performer is running a business. It is also an art learned over the years from successes but also from mistakes.  A well written contract is critical to the running of any business and is beneficial for both parties, insuring a satisfied client and a ‘happy harpist’.  This article combines input from successful professional harpists in the San Francisco Bay Area that I polled to make the information as complete as possible.  Below are the recommendations regarding CONTRACTS for freelance harpists.

Before accepting any job, ask yourself – “Do I want this job?”  The following are my personal criteria for accepting a job:

  • Does it pay well enough?
  • Is it music that I want to play, do I want this experience and/or do I want to work with these musicians?
  • Do I believe in and support the people/organization who have asked me to play?

To accept the work, I require at least one and ideally two of the above.

Everyone should consider a contract as a necessary document regarding services rendered, whether for a wedding, party, funeral or other freelance jobs.  It is an empowering statement that sets a level of professionalism. It can also cover studio teaching policies. The contract (or agreement) clarifies and lowers any risk of misunderstandings, clearly stating expectations for both the client and the harpist.  It serves to protect both parties, including guarantee of fees, reimbursement and compensation, details of venue and time, attire, music, etc.  Contracts can be either written, printed, or in email format (which is now legally binding).  However, all harpists polled agreed that a ‘signed’ document is most effective and easily understood. Generally, the event booking becomes official only upon receiving a signed contract and deposit to secure the time and date.

Many clients (especially regarding weddings or funerals) have not worked with contracts, so it’s important that all the details are spelled out.  A ‘generic’ contract offered by the client may not meet the particular needs of a harpist.  Consider adding your own contract-addendum.  It is amazing how many clients have not thought about a harpist’s special needs—e.g. a solid and level place to play, convenient parking and load-in for the event, and potential weather issues, including sun protection at outdoor venues.

 An initial conversation with the client is always helpful to clarify needs and contract requirements.   Your job can often be to guide and help clients understand exactly what they want.  Because all clients have slightly different needs, computers and word processing will allow variations in wording of the written document.

For specific contract details, download the rest of this comprehensive article that provides the information to include in any contract, questions to ask yourself, as well as sample letters/contracts and forms that may be helpful.  It is a major subject that deserves much attention and thought.  I wish to thank my colleagues for sharing their expertise and experiences – truly an ‘ensemble’ effort.   A special thanks to Alice Yothers, Susie Spiwak and David Klein for their editorial assistance.

 CHAPTER NEWS:

RSVP today for the BACAHS Annual Winter Potluck this coming Sunday, January 15, 4pm at the home of Malcolm McAfee and the late Marcella DeCray, 30 Commonwealth Avenue, in San Francisco.  In addition to great food and camaraderie, we will be entertained at the harp compliments of member Jennifer Ellis with her Admiral Launch Duo, including Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, saxophone.

Remember the music swap!  Bring sheet music and books you no longer need and take home music from others that you always wanted to play.

Please rsvp and indicate what dish you will bring: Alice Yothers 510-305-9438 or ayothers@yahoo.com

Sign up now for Bay Area Weekend with Susann McDonald

Susann McDonald, renowned harpist, recording artist, and teacher, is coming to the Bay Area for three spectacular events taking place February 25, 26 and 28, 2017.Sign up now to attend Master Classes with this trailblazing artist who has elevated the harp and inspired harp students around the world through a performing and teaching career that spans more than five decades.

San Jose Master Class, Saturday, February 25, 2017

San Francisco Master Class, Sunday February 26, 2017

Recharging Your Passion—a conversation and luncheon for Teachers and Adult Students with Ms. McDonald and Linda Rollo in San Jose—Tuesday, February 28, 2017

For Location and Registration information visit bacharp.org or http://siliconvalleyharp.org/. The Master Classes are quite popular for participants—there is a waiting list for San Jose and San Francisco is sold out.  There is still plenty of room for auditors. Presented by Silicon Valley and Bay Area Chapters of the American Harp Society.

The Bay Area Chapter of the American Harp Society has agreed to be a sponsor of the 2017 International Harp Festival, May 25-28, 2017, at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA.  As a benefit to our membership, scholarships will be awarded to two BACAHS members, to be determined in a random drawing by the chapter board.  Each scholarship is for the full registration fee of the IHF, which allows the winner entry to all of the workshops and concerts at the Festival (a $450 value).  Lodging and food may be purchased separately at http://www.harpfestival.org.

If you wish your name to be placed into the drawing pool for one of the scholarships, please contact Alice Yothers, ayothers@yahoo.com, by February 28, 2017, and let her know of your interest.  The winners will be notified during the first week of March 2017.  You must be a BACAHS member to be eligible.

Guest artists and presenters for the Festival include Kim Robertson, Julie Ann Smith, Frank Voltz, Jennifer Ellis, Johathan Hulting-Cohen, Jessica Siegel, Felice Pomeranz, and the winners of the Yvonne Lamothe Schwager Competition for Young Harpists, together with guest artist Madeline Jarzembak.  Workshop topics will include Teaching Tactics, Preparing for your Career, Jazz Improvisation for Lever and Pedal Harps, Celtic Music, Editing and Arranging Music, Basic Composition, Healing Harps, Intro to Chamber Music, plus many more.  Visit http://www.harpfestival.org for full information.

Students up to age 25, start preparing for the Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competion for Young Harpists to be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Winners’ Recital will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the San Damiano Retreat Center in conjunction with the 2017 International Harp Festival.  Madeline Jarzembak, new Principal Harp with the Santa Cruz Symphony, will be the featured performer in addition to the student competition winners. Repertoire, Guidelines and Registration are available at http://bacharp.org/competitions/

Benefit for BACAHS members:  BACAHS joined the Center for New Music (C4NM) at 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco.  C4NM offers rehearsal, meeting and performance space to its members at reduced rates.  If you are interested in learning more about renting the space, contact Susie Spiwak at bacahs@gmail.com.

Are you interested in joining the board of your Chapter? The 2016-2017 term for the current officers will end May 30, 2017. There will be openings for many of the Executive Board offices including President and Vice President.  Please get involved and keep the momentum of the chapter going.  For more information and to express your interest please contact Alice at ayothers@yahoo.com or Susie at bacahs@gmail.com.

MEMBER NEWS:

Dr. Diana Rowan‘s Bright Knowledge Harp Circle opens for registration Jan 8-15. Members learn the 5-Step Bright Knowledge System, which teaches harpists how to connect with their harp purpose and make consistent progress in practice. This 100% online program works either with your current teacher or even if you’re a pro, and features both learning and community aspects. Visit https://harpcircle.brightknowledgeacademy.com/ to find out more.

Just since Sarah Voynow’s fabulous Fall Kickoff Concert for BACAHS, pieces from her CD “I’m Just a Lucky So and So” have started being heard on KCSM FM Jazz 91.1.  Listen for Billy Holiday’s God Bless the Child (duet with bass), and Dorothy Ashby’s Essence of Sapphire and Flighty, as well as The Peacocks, So In Love, Love in Vain and I’m Just a Lucky So and So.  Search “Sarah Voynow” in the KCSM playlist at http://kcsm.org/playlist/pub_artist_search.php.  Way to go, Sarah!

Congratulations to member Meredith Clark, who was recently awarded the position of Principal Harp for the Oakland Symphony.  In addition to that she has a number of performances coming up, starting with February 3 when she’s playing Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro with One Found Sound (a conductor-less chamber orchestra, although they’re playing the Ravel with the original septet). The concert is at 8pm at Heron Arts (7 Heron St, SF).  http://www.onefoundsound.org/concerts/

She’s also playing with Earplay March 20 at 7:30 pm. Jason Federmeyer: new work (2016) for flute, viola, and harp, world premiere; Earplay commission:  Toru Takemitsu: And Then I Knew Twas the Wind (1992) for flute, viola, and harp.  Preconcert talk at 6:45 p.m.  http://earplay.org/www/season.php

And several Lou Harrison works this spring for Other Minds festival and at Mills College, including:

Other Minds Festival – February 18, 7:30pm, Mission Dolores Basilica

Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra

Concert Info: http://otherminds.org/shtml/om22-info.shtml

Tickets available here: http://om22concertone.brownpapertickets.com/

Mills College – Saturday April 15, 8pm, Littlefield Concert Hall, Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra, https://musicnow.mills.edu/calendar.php
Other Minds Festival – May 20, 7:30pm, Mission Dolores Basilica, playing the following by Lou Harrison: Suite for Cello and Harp (with Emil Miland), Threnody for Oliver Daniel (harp solo), La Koro Sutro (scored for mixed chorus, gamelan, organ and harp).

Then she travels to San Luis Obispo to Festival Mosaic, Saturday July 29, 8pm – playing Copland Clarinet Concerto; Chamber Concert on Sunday July 30, 3pm – playing Ravel Sonatine (chamber version for flute, viola and harp)  http://www.festivalmozaic.com/

In Memoriam:  Adele Hanson, 1930-2016.  Thank you to Kristin and William Martin for their donation to BACAHS in memory of early childhood educator and Berkeley harpist, Adele Hanson. It is the first we heard of Adele’s passing and are very sorry for the loss to her family, friends and the harp community.    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/eastbaytimes/obituary.aspx?pid=182434481

COMING EVENTS/CALENDAR—Check out the calendar at bacharp.org to get the details on upcoming events including Boris’ Salon on January 14, BACAHS Annual Potluck on January 15, and much much more!  Please post your events to the BACAHS gmail calendar viewed at http://bacharp.org/calendar-2/. If you do not already have access to post and would like to do so, contact us at bacahs@gmail.com.

CLASSIFIED ADS Check out the great harps and accessories for rent and sale recently added to the Classified Ads page.  If you need to list your harp or accessories, fill out the form on the classifieds page. If you have a listing that is no longer current, please let us know at bacahs@gmail.com

 

Harping in a Winter Wonderland

December, 2016

logo_colorDear BACAHS Members and Friends,

Before we launch forth to tell you about the exciting events we have planned for the duration of the harp year, we want to issue a special invitation to YOU to consider joining our BACAHS Board team. The current board’s tenure will be up the end of May and slots on the Executive Board including President and Vice President will be available to assume. Please help keep up the momentum that brought us to be acknowledged as AHS Chapter of the Year 2015-16, while having the freedom to put your own imprint on the position.

Right on the heels of Happy New Year! comes our crowd-pleasing Winter Potluck once again. Don’t miss our special guest entertainers as well as our second annual Music Swap!

February brings a venerated icon of the harp world to the area for Bay Area Weekend with Susann McDonald, including master classes and a special event for teachers and adult learners. And read about the second annual International Harp Festival, and BACAHS’s sponsorship, including a drawing for two free scholarships for lucky chapter members.

This month’s Member Spotlight features Laura Simpson, master of “popular improvised styling”. Explore her unique background and learn of her upcoming stage presentation of “The Telltale Harp.”

New this issue is a CD review by Karen Gottlieb: Sarah Voynow’s “I’m Just a Lucky So and So” is critiqued.

It’s all in this issue, and more!

Happy Harping Holidays!
Alice Yothers and Susie Spiwak

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Laura Simpson by Suki Russack

Laura SimpsonInterviewing Laura Simpson, I was struck by her clear understanding of her own capabilities and talents. She knows that her incredible ear for tunes and harmonic structure allows her to work with ease in the challenging field of popular improvised styling. To be able to make a living as Laura does, working almost every day as the harpist in the main lobby at the U.C. Medical Center, she takes the harp far beyond the expectations of many harpists and listeners alike. People from all different backgrounds approach her to play their special requests as they deal with the trauma and fears associated with injury, illness, or concern for loved ones receiving treatment. Laura provides this vulnerable segment of our population with comfort and relaxation through her music and her outgoing, caring nature. Search the internet for “Laura Simpson harp” and you’ll find videos posted by people whose lives she has touched through her hospital work.

Laura’s education is quite diverse. She studied anthropology as an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Barbara, then music (voice and harp) at Trinity College of Music in London, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, London University, and the Froebel Institute in London. She holds a Licentiate degree in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and a California Single Subject (Music) teaching credential. Her worldwide residencies include the Four Seasons Hotel, London; the Intercontinental Hotel in Bahrain; Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach; the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles; and the Fairmont and Ritz Carlton Hotels in San Francisco. She currently performs for Afternoon Tea during the Christmas holiday season as the resident harpist year-round at both The Palace and The Ritz in San Francisco. Laura has produced two CD’s: ”Tea Time” and “Laura,” which can be purchased at the UCSF Gift Shop or by contacting her at lauras6@prodigy.net.

Laura was instrumental in transforming BACAHS into the society it is today. In 2006 Laura and Karen Gottlieb energized a small, mostly social chapter by organizing the very successful American Harp Society National Conference in San Francisco, along with Elaine Coombs and Celeste Misfeldt. Since that time, BACAHS has become an important resource for students, teachers and harp professionals. Laura has been a member of the American Harp Society since she was 22 years old, and continues to be an active participant in Chapter activities.

Laura will present a staged reading of “The Telltale Harp”, performed by the Pegasus Theater Company at the Graton Community Club, Graton, CA on January 29, 2017. It is a comedy based on true tales from harpists across America. The story follows three harpists as they compete for a part on a TV wedding reality show. As co-author, Laura arranged the score to showcase the harp’s versatility. Chapter member Sarah Voynow will be featured on harp. Check it out on Facebook under “The Telltale Harp”. Please also find details on our Calendar and come on out to enjoy the show!

CHAPTER NEWS:

Admiral Launch DuoYou are invited to the BACAHS Annual Winter Potluck. In addition to great food and camaraderie, we will be entertained at the harp compliments of member Jennifer Ellis with her Admiral Launch Duo, including Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, saxophone.

Remember the music swap! Bring sheet music and books you no longer need and take home music from others that you always wanted to play.

Please rsvp and indicate what dish you will bring: Alice Yothers 510-305-9438 or ayothers@yahoo.com


Sign up now for Bay Area Weekend with Susann McDonald
Susann McDonald, renowned harpist, recording artist, and teacher, is coming to the Bay Area for three spectacular events taking place February 25, 26 and 28, 2017.Sign up now to attend Master Classes with this trailblazing artist who has elevated the harp and inspired harp students around the world through a performing and teaching career that spans more than five decades.

  • San Jose Master Class, Saturday, February 25, 2017
  • San Francisco Master Class, Sunday February 26, 2017
  • Recharging Your Passion—a conversation and luncheon for Teachers and Adult Students with Ms. McDonald and Linda Rollo in San Jose—Tuesday, February 28, 2017

For Location and Registration information visit bacharp.org or http://siliconvalleyharp.org/. The Master Classes are quite popular. There are only limited spaces left for participants and plenty of room still for auditors. Presented by Silicon Valley and Bay Area Chapters of the American Harp Society.


The Bay Area Chapter of the American Harp Society has agreed to be a sponsor of the 2017 International Harp Festival, May 25-28, 2017, at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA. As a benefit to our membership, two scholarships will be awarded to two BACAHS members, to be determined in a random drawing by the chapter board. Each scholarship is for the full registration fee of the IHF, which allows the winner entry to all of the workshops and concerts at the Festival (a $450 value). Lodging and food may be purchased separately at http://www.harpfestival.org.

If you wish your name to be placed into the drawing pool for one of the scholarships, please contact Alice Yothers, ayothers@yahoo.com, by February 28, 2017, and let her know of your interest. The winners will be notified during the first week of March 2017. You must be a BACAHS member to be eligible.

Guest artists and presenters for the Festival include Kim Robertson, Julie Ann Smith, Frank Voltz, Jennifer Ellis, Johathan Hulting-Cohen, Jessica Siegel, Felice Pomeranz, and the winners of the Yvonne Lamothe Schwager Competition for Young Harpists, together with guest artist Madeline Jarzembak. Workshop topics will include Teaching Tactics, Preparing for your Career, Jazz Improvisation for Lever and Pedal Harps, Celtic Music, Editing and Arranging Music, Basic Composition, Healing Harps, Intro to Chamber Music, plus many more. Visit http://www.harpfestival.org for full information.


Students up to age 25, start preparing for the Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competion for Young Harpists to be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Winners’ Recital will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the San Damiano Retreat Center in conjunction with the 2017 International Harp Festival. Madeline Jarzembak, new Principal Harp with the Santa Cruz Symphony, will be the featured performer in addition to the student competition winners. Repertoire, Guidelines and Registration are available at http://bacharp.org/competitions/


Benefit for BACAHS members: BACAHS joined the Center for New Music (C4NM) at 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco. C4NM offers rehearsal, meeting and performance space to its members at reduced rates. If you are interested in learning more about renting the space, contact Susie Spiwak at bacahs@gmail.com.


Are you interested in joining the board of your Chapter? The 2016-2017 term for the current officers will end May 30, 2017. There will be openings for many of the Executive Board offices including President and Vice President. Please get involved and keep the momentum of the chapter going. For more information and to express your interest please contact Alice at ayothers@yahoo.com or Susie at bacahs@gmail.com.

CD Review: “I’m Just A Lucky So And So” Sarah Voynow, Harp, with bass & drums. All arrangements by Sarah Voynow.

If you’re a jazz fan or new to that genre, you’re in for a special treat. Sarah Voynow has just released her jazz album for harp with bass and drums, ‘I’m Just A Lucky So And So’. Always interested in jazz and improvisation, Sarah has put together a truly special recording with depth and breadth of styles, accompanied by Pat Klobas on bass, David Rokeach on drums/percussion and David Phillips on lap steel guitar. It includes the music of the great jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby, and other notable jazz and popular musicians, including Freddie Hubbard, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Jacques Brel, Robert Johnson and Sarah’s own composition. Brilliantly produced, arranged and spectacularly performed with exactness and an ‘easy going style’, this recording is a joy to listen to time and again.

Having performed for many years with the San Francisco Ballet and Opera and many other Bay Area arts organizations, Sarah has been known locally as a classical harpist. But, think again and re-imagine her as a stellar, unique, super talented and engaging jazz harpist. She has studied under Susann McDonald, Nancy Allen and Lucile Lawrence. She received her Bachelors, Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from The Juilliard School – her thesis was An Analysis of Jazz Harp Performance. She has received many awards including 1st prize at the Lyon and Healy International Jazz/Pop Competition in 1991.

Sarah and her trio recently gave an engaging and entertaining performance at the Center for New Music in San Francisco. Lucky for us in the Bay Area, Sarah is an inspiration for harpists and other musicians, displaying the diversity of the harp in both the classical realm and jazz scene.

Her CD can be purchased on iTunes. The music can also be streamed on Apple Music.
—by Karen Gottlieb

MEMBER NEWS:

Welcome New Members in 2016-17! Viviana Alfaro, Sarah Comfort, Hannah Lam, Molly Langr, Margaret Larsen, Matthew Verona


Stephanie Janowski announces two other events, in addition to her annual “20 Harps for the Holidays” concert December 3 (see Coming Events). She will play harp Sunday, December 4, 3:00 pm, with the San Jose Wind Symphony in “The Night Before Christmas”, a holiday concert with the choirs of San Jose State University and Saratoga High School. This family-friendly show also features a silent auction. McAfee Performing Arts Center, 20300 Herriman Ave, Saratoga. www.sjws.org. And Christmas Eve, 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm, Stephanie will play her harp in duet with Paul Rosas (organ) for services at Los Altos United Methodist Church.


Dominique Piana‘s harpiana.com website, featuring Harpiana Publications, is finally up and running, listing all existing and presently available publications (almost 250!). More work needs to be done in adding commentary, but all the basics are there for your “window shopping”. There will also be more new music coming before the end of the year, fleshing out repertoire by composers such as Posse and Snoer, and presenting more chamber music, such as a trio by Poenitz, and an Italian song by Parish Alvars, and much more.


Linda Rollo has informed us of a date change for the Silicon Valley Chapter’s String Fever Concert from April 29 to April 22nd, at the Villages in San Jose. She welcomes any interested member of the Bay Area Chapter to join them. The only required rehearsal is on the morning of the concert (Apr. 22 from 10-1). The concert will be at 2:30. Small optional rehearsals will take place at various homes during February, March and April. Anyone interested in playing with them should contact Linda at lwrollo@gmail.com.


Diana Stork writes: “I’m happy to announce that my CD with harpist Portia Diwa “Music from the Labyrinth” has just been released. Thanks to wonderful San Francisco Bay Area musicians Shira Kammen on vielle, Dan Reiter on cello, Peter Maund on percussion and Elaine Coombs also on cello – who added so much to our harp tracks. If you want to check it out, listen to some clips and/ or purchase it, you can go to: http://harpdancer.com/online-books-music-store/ or https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dianastork14 or
Available soon on iTunes

And if you’d like to hear Portia and me playing music from our new CD, we will be having our CD Release along with a Labyrinth Walk this coming Friday, December 2nd, from 6 – 8:00 pm at Grace Cathedral. Grace Cathedral is located at the top of Nob Hill. Parking is available underneath the cathedral, or across the street at the Masonic auditorium. The closest BART stop is Powell with a bit of a hike up the hill.

You can walk the beautiful indoor labyrinth as you listen, or listen as you sit quietly by the labyrinth. Come and go as you like. Entrance is by donation at the door, and CD’s will be available to purchase. With the cathedral glowing with hundreds of white candles, we will also be performing some seasonal music to get you in the holiday mood. Please invite your family and friends. We hope to see you at this very special event.”


Lynn Taffin‘s students are busy preparing for a holiday performance later in December, as well as for a studio ensemble class in the New Year.


Joffria Whitfield has shared her full December schedule with us. She’ll be playing viola at the Messiah Sing-Along December 3, 7:30 pm, El Campanil Theater, Antioch. And on the fourth, she’ll perform harp and violin with the Ashmolean Singers Christmas Concert, at Rossmoor, Walnut Creek.

December 9th she’ll perform harp with the choir for Ceremony of Carols at Clayton Valley Charter High School, Concord, at 7 pm. And on the 10th at 6:30 pm and on the 11th at 3 pm she performs in “Siegfried” at City College of San Francisco. She plays harp with the Cantata at St. Isidore’s Catholic Church on the 18th, Danville, 4 pm.

She finishes off the season playing harp and other instruments at the Christmas Eve Service of Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, and Midnight Mass at St. Isidore’s Catholic Church, followed by the Christmas Day Service at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, at 10:30 am.


Check out our upcoming events here.

And don’t forget the classified ads here.


MEMBERSHIP Thank you to all who have joined the chapter or renewed your membership in BACAHS. If you have not done so already, please join or renew now. The membership year begins September 1 and goes through August 2017. Although you may be a member of the American Harp Society at the National level, we hope you will join the Bay Area Chapter as well.

The Chapter serves to meet the need to share information, promote and foster an appreciation of the harp as a musical instrument in the Bay Area, and further harp education at all levels. Your support enables continued sponsorship of harp programs and master classes.

Visit BACHARP.org/membership. The Bay Area Chapter of the American Harp Society is a 501(c)3 corporation and, as such, both membership dues and all donations are tax-deductible, to the full extent allowed by law.

Welcome to Autumn

October 2016

logo_colorDear BACAHS Members and Friends,

Welcome new members and greetings veterans! We hope you have recently joined or renewed your chapter membership for 2016-2017. If not yet, please consider doing so at our upcoming Fall Kickoff event, featuring Sarah Voynow’s Jazz Trio (see information below). We’re offering a special rate for those paying for dues and tickets at the event. Don’t miss Suki Russack’s Member Spotlight on Sarah below.

We have exciting Chapter News, introducing guidelines for the bi-annual Yvonne La Mothe Schwager Competition for Young Harpists, announcing our new member-partnership with Center for New Music in San Francisco, and spreading the word about a newly forming BACAHS Harp Ensemble. Member News needs your news! See who is sharing their harp doings with us. Did someone say National Harp Day?

Our Coming Events feature brims with calendar items you’ll want to plan for. Save the date! for our ever popular Winter Potluck January 15, as Jennifer Ellis introduces to us her Admiral Launch Duo. And Classified Ads is ready for your visit as you hunt for your next harp!

Now that your appetite is duly whetted, please read on!

Happy Harping!

—Alice Yothers and Susie Spiwak


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Sarah Voynow by Suki Russack

Sarah VoynowAs I was reading Sarah Voynow’s biography, I thought, how could one person have done so much with so many different kinds of music? Unbeknownst to many of us who know her, she is an incredibly accomplished harpist, able to perform in all types of classical and popular music traditions.

Sarah began playing the harp at age six and by 11 was honing her ear training and improvisation while playing afternoon tea at Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho, accepting requests at the hum of a tune.

After receiving BA, MA and DMA degrees from Juilliard, she started touring and recording with the likes of clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, and playing and recording with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, among other orchestras of note, as well as various Broadway shows. Her accolades include first prize at the Lyon and Healy International Jazz/Pop Harp Competition in 1990.

When I asked Sarah about her experience with jazz improvisation, she told me that it is necessary to get beyond the “fear factor”. The more she plays with other great jazz musicians, the better she understands jazz harmony. She explained that an understanding of music theory is necessary in order to be able to improvise within popular music genres. She noted that to get around the complexities of some jazz harmony, the use of enharmonics, careful voicing of chords and, when necessary, playing the melodic line can help, instead of trying to play all the harmonies. As a result, a harpist needs an almost instinctive knowledge of the mechanics of the harp pedals in order to play the harmonic progressions with any facility. Wow, that’s an earful!

Sarah’s upcoming concert, October 23, will serve to introduce or further acquaint musicians and music lovers with jazz on the harp and the music of harpist/composer Dorothy Ashby (1930-1986). Ashby extended the popularization of jazz harp past a novelty, showing how the instrument can be utilized seamlessly, as much a bebop instrument as the saxophone. She also contributed music and arrangements for many pop music greats, including Stevie Wonder. Sarah became inspired by Ashby’s music while doing research for her doctoral dissertation at Juilliard on the History of Jazz Performance. Although Sarah never met Ashby, she had the opportunity to interview Ashby’s husband to get a flavor for the soul of this groundbreaking musician.

Sarah’s jazz trio includes notable Bay Area musicians Pat Klobas on bass and David Rokeach on drums/percussion. Tickets are available at centerfornewmusic.com. For a small taste of Sarah’s work, you can listen to two tunes from the album titled “I’m Just a Lucky So and So” on Soundcloud.

CHAPTER NEWS:

Students up to age 25, start preparing for the Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competion for Young Harpists to be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Winners’ Recital will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the San Damiano Retreat Center in conjunction with the 2017 International Harp Festival. Madeline Jarzembak, new Principal Harp with the Santa Cruz Symphony, will be the featured performer in addition to the student competition winners. Repertoire, Guidelines and Registration are available at http://bacharp.org/competitions/

Benefit for BACAHS members: BACAHS joined the Center for New Music (C4NM) at 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco. C4NM offers rehearsal, meeting and performance space to its members at reduced rates. If you are interested in learning more about renting the space, contact Susie Spiwak at bacahs@gmail.com.

A harp ensemble for BACAHS members is in the first stages of formation and slated to begin this fall. Natalie Cox and Janice Oretga will be providing leadership and repertoire suitable for both pedal and lever harps. The group will meet once each month. Several likely locations in San Francisco are being considered that can accommodate easy load in and close parking. A few lever harps may be available for borrowing. Details such as the day of the week and nominal fee are still being worked out.

Anyone who is interested in joining, please contact Natalie Cox at musicians@lmi.net or 510-778-0737. Please let us know if you have preferred day(s) of the week and if you will bring your own harp or will need a loaner.

MEMBER NEWS:

Welcome New Members in 2016-17! Sarah Goss, Safina Kajani, Jasmine Low, Sarah Thompson

Erica Messer presented a proposal to the AHS to advocate for a new national holiday: National Harp Day. They will be voting on whether to proceed with the proposal next week.

Erica is also asking for donations of harps to her public school harp program at North Shoreview Montessori School in San Mateo. As the Artist in Residence, she has received eight harp donations so far, but is eager to grow the program. Contact her at harpisteri@gmail.com for more information or to donate.

North Shoreview Montessori ensemble will perform at Filoli Holiday Traditions November 29 at 11:30 am-12 noon. Erica’s private students will perform at Hillsdale Mall (Nordstrom Court) in San Mateo, December 3, at 5pm-6pm.

Destiny Muhammad was busy in September with performances at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and sharing music with Kaiser Permanente Bay Area Health Professionals at the San Ramon Marriott. Her October is gearing up performing at UCSF, the Heart and Soul Center of Light in Oakland, the BayView Grand Opening and an interview by Melannie Green of station KPOO. destinymuhammadproject.com

Joffria Whitfield will be performing as Principal Harp with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra in a program called Sound Worlds, featuring music by Antonin Dvorak, Alberto Ginastera, John Knowles Paine and Martin Rokeach. November 6, 2:00 p.m., Hoffman Theater, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek—more info and November 12, 2:00 p.m., El Campanil Theater, Antioch—more info


Check out our upcoming events here.

And don’t forget the classified ads here.

BACAHS Fall Kick off Concert, Sunday, October 23!

BACAHS member, acclaimed harpist Sarah Voynow, is excited to share with all her love of jazz and Dorothy Ashby, jazz harpist and composer (1930-1986).  Ashby extended the popularization of jazz harp past a novelty, showing how the instrument can be utilized seamlessly as much a bebop instrument as the saxophone.

Sarah and her trio of top-notch jazz musicians from San Francisco, including Pat Klobas on bass and Dave Rokeach on drums/percussion, will entertain, educate, and regale you with standards and popular music and insight into how did we get here–from classical to jazz harp!  The concert takes place on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 4pm.  A reception will follow.  Purchase your tickets.  Bring your family and friends–members and their guests get the same great discounted price!

Read Sarah’s impressive bio:

head-shot-for-publicitySarah Voynow began playing the harp growing up in Hawaii and began formal music studies three years later at 9 when her family moved to Ogden, Utah. Two years later Sarah honed her ear training and improvisation on a practical level and learned to rely on customers humming favorite standards while playing for the tea hour afterschool at the Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho. Later on, she received Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Music of Arts degrees at The Juilliard School under Susann McDonald and later, Nancy Allen. Sarah toured and recorded with clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman and Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd in addition to playing and recording with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York Philharmonic, The Detroit Symphony, chamber music with Columbia Artist Management and various Broadway shows. She has won several awards including 1st prize at the Lyon and Healy International Jazz/Pop Harp Competition in 1990.

As a freelancer, she currently performs with the San Francisco Ballet, television, motion picture and gaming recordings at Skywalker Sound and the San Francisco Opera. She is soloist on recordings with The SF Gay Men’s Chorus, San Francisco Girls and Boys Chorus and music for Grace Cathedral’s labyrinth walk with Musica Divina. Sarah has performed with Jon Faddis and The Stanford Jazz Orchestra, Ray Charles, hip hop band The Coup, SF Punk Rock Orchestra, Art Garfunkel, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow, and other popular artists. Sarah can also be heard on the Advanced Brain Technologies records utilizing classical Music For Babies, which won several awards including Parent’s Magazine Choice Award and improvising a harp solo with bassist Ken Miller to the film soundtrack, Two Lovers.

The harpist has taught at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the Preparatory and Extension Divisions in addition to maintaining her private teaching practice in San Francisco.

Come out and support your BAC member harpists.  Tickets available at www.centerfornewmusic.com.

See you at the concert!

Fall Is in the Air

September, 2016

logo_colorDear BACAHS Members and Friends,

Fall is coming fast upon us as we begin our 2016-2017 Harp Year, following such a busy past year, culminating in achieving the status of American Harp Society Chapter of the Year.

Thank you to all the members who participated in our chapter planning meeting in August and offered great ideas and feedback. Stay tuned as more of these come to fruition. In the meantime, the chapter and its membership are chock-a-block with performances and events. Check out our member news and coming events sections and don’t miss the Member Spotlight, featuring Diana Rowan.

First on the docket in October (date TBA) is our Fall Kickoff Event with Sarah Voynow and her Jazz Trio at the Center for New Music in San Francisco. Then before you know it, it will be time for our ever popular annual Winter Potluck in January, where we’ll be entertained by Jennifer Ellis and her Admiral Launch Duo. February will feature master classes by Susann McDonald, in conjunction with the Silicon Valley Chapter, and finally in May we will present our fourth bi-annual Yvonne La Mothe Schwager Harp Competition, with Winners’ Recital to follow the next week.

Stay tuned as we continue to announce more details and added events as the year unfolds. And as always . . .

Happy Harping!

Alice Yothers and Susie Spiwak

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Diana RowanDIANA ROWAN by Suki Russack

In light of Diana Rowan’s upcoming Virtual Harp Summit taking place September 14 through 20, I sat down with her to explore her genesis with the harp and her inspiration for the first ever on-line summit.

Diana has been a world traveler since she first left her native Ireland at age five. Her father was in the Irish diplomatic service and took postings all over the world, bringing his family with him.

Diana lived with a Greek family on the island of Cyprus during her high school years. Here she was exposed to the music of Greece, Turkey, the Balkans and the Middle East. She was trained in classical piano, eventually earning a Master’s in Piano Performance, but became entranced by the harp after hearing a concert of Kitka, an Eastern European women’s vocal ensemble, accompanied by Ensemble Alcatraz, which featured harp and other medieval instruments. She told one of her piano students how much she was moved by the concert and discovered that the student owned a tiny William Rees harp. Diana borrowed the harp and began to play. From there, Diana says, “Voila! An obsession was born”.

As Diana became more proficient on the harp, she realized that in order to master this complex instrument and produce the sounds that she dreamed of hearing, she had to have better harp technique. She heard Alice Giles perform in concert at an American Harp Society conference and knew that Alice had the tools that she needed to progress. She spent intensive periods over two years with Alice, taking daily lessons, discovering the intertwining connection between harp interpretation and technique. Without technique, there would be no vehicle for art, and without art, all the technique in the world wouldn’t give her the creative expression she desired.

Along with her study came the discovery that the harp is present in almost all kinds of world music. It forms a bridge between different musical cultures and eras. In fact, this subject became the basis for her Doctoral thesis in Music Theory, which she completed at the National Academy of Music, Bulgaria, in 2014.

When I asked Diana how she had come upon the idea for a Virtual Harp Summit (VHS), which showcases more than 20 master harpists from all over the world, she said that several reasons were the inspiration. First, it was an organic outgrowth of her extensive on-line teaching. Also, she has given many concert tours all over the world, and gathered students from remote areas who want to study harp but who are living in places where there are no opportunities for fulfilling their harp dreams. Having attended and taught at many harp conferences and seeing how rich and valuable such conferences can be for those who can attend, Diana wanted to bring a harp conference to harpists wherever they may live. Because Diana has given concerts all over the world, she has met many wonderful harpists who aren’t able to travel to the US, but deserve a broader audience.

VHS is a first-of-its-kind online harp festival. Its theme, “Playing with Expression and Creativity” offers to spark each harpist’s individual creative impulse. VHS takes place from September 14-20 and is free. Participants must register online to attend (please click the link below) and is available for subscription holders after those dates.

Best of luck, Diana, for a great summit and thank you for your generous offering to the harp community.

Links:
Virtual Harp Summit registration: http://virtualharpsummit.com
Facebook Virtual Harp Summit Page: https://www.facebook.com/virtualharpsummit
Diana’s harp performance page: http://dianarowan.com
Diana’s harp teaching page: http://brightknowledgeacademy.com


Alice and AnnBACHAS wins Chapter of the Year for 2015-16 from American Harp Society: Many of you already know BACAHS was selected as Chapter of the Year for 2015-2016 by the Executive Committee of the American Harp Society! (full story here)

The Bay Area Chapter was recognized at the AHS Annual Membership Meeting in Atlanta at the National Conference. Alice Yothers, BACAHS Board President, accepted the award check in the amount of $300.00 from AHS president Ann Yeung. The money will be used for future programming for the Chapter. BACAHS’ winning application will be included as an example on the AHS website.

Thank you to all the chapter members who helped to make last year so rich and vibrant.


A harp ensemble for BACAHS members is in the first stages of formation and slated to begin this fall. Natalie Cox and Janice Oretga will be providing leadership and repertoire suitable for both pedal and lever harps. The group will meet once each month. Several locations likely in San Francisco are being considered that can accommodate easy load in and close parking. A few lever harps may be available for borrowing. Details such as the day of the week, and nominal fee are still being worked out.

Anyone who is interested in joining please contact Natalie Cox at musicians@lmi.net or 510-778-0737. Please let us know if you have preferred day(s) of the week and if you will bring your own harp or be in need of a loaner.


Dates and locations are now announced for the Yvonne LaMothe Schwager Competion for Young Harpists and Winners’ Recital. The Competition will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Winners’ Recital will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the San Damiano Retreat in conjunction with the 2017 International Harp Festival. Madeline Jarzembak, new Principal Harp with the Santa Cruz Symphony will be the featured performer in addition to the student competition winners. Repertoire, Guidelines and Registration are available at http://bacharp.org/competitions/

New Benefit for BACAHS members: BACAHS joined the Center for New Music (C4NM) at 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco. C4NM offers rehearsal, meeting and performance space to its members at reduced rates. If you are interested in learning more about renting the space contact Susie Spiwak at bacahs@gmail.com.

MEMBER NEWS

Karen Gottlieb and Laura Simpson will present a very entertaining and informative program: A Harpist’s Tips for Freelancing Success at the fall kickoff event for SVCAHS on Sunday September 11th. Check out the calendar for more details.


Dominique Piana gave a lecture-recital at the AHS national harp conference in Atlanta entitled Romantic Miniatures, demonstrating the evolution of the romantic “fragment” from expression piece to impressionistic sketch. In the Exhibits Hall, she was approached by Rebecca Squire, who had commissioned Thomas Duffy, a Yale Professor of Composition, to write a holiday-inspired work for her harp ensemble through an AHS grant. It became Three Sparkles for the Season, three short pieces for 3-part harp ensemble and 2-part treble choir (boys or girls or female choir). The words are secular, which allows the work to be performed anywhere, including public schools. Dominique will make this music available to any interested harp ensemble. The harp parts are intermediate in difficulty.

Last May, Dominique premiered a song cycle based on folk poetry for tenor & harp by David Finko, entitled Passages in the Wind, with her son Greg Allen Friedman, at a concert with the Pleasanton Chamber Players at the Firehouse Arts Center. She also performed the Golubev Quintet with the ensemble. The Finko set was published in time for the conference, along with other works for voice & harp by Schumann, Dvorák, and Oberthür. Among other new publications are Dizi works for flute & harp, more Krumpholtz Sonatas, and also romantic solo works by Hasselmans, Holý, Oberthür, Posse, Schuëcker and Steibelt. The American composer Paul Creston’s Lydian Song is now back in print, and particular care has been given to PASTELS, a new collection of transcriptions of descriptive music, from Beethoven to Sibelius.


Diana Rowan announces her first-ever Virtual Harp Summit, running September 14-20. It’s a harp conference-festival that comes straight to your living room. Learn directly from 25+ master harpists, listen to gorgeous harp performances, meet other harpists worldwide, all in your PJs! Virtual Harp Summit is 100% online and FREE.
Register here to attend: http://virtualharpsummit.com


Still basking in the success of her first ever 2016 International Harp Festival, Jessica Siegel asks that we Save the Date for the 2017 International Harp Festival, planned for May 25-28, 2017, at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA. And be sure to read Gaylene Suganuma’s report on the 2016 festival in this newsletter.


Diana Stork invites you to check this newsletter’s Events section for details on performances planned by her Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble in October and December. She also invites us in December to walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral with music by Portia Diwa and Diana, and with Diana, later, at Community Congregational Church in Tiburon.


Lynn Taffin spent the summer collaborating with harpists and other musicians and composers from Paris, Zurich and even closer to home in Oregon for upcoming concert projects.

She asks that we look in the upcoming American Harp Society Journal for an article by her student Audrey Kost. Audrey chronicled her science project of building a laser harp. What a great way to merge her passion for music and science!

IN MEMORIAM

Barbara Imhoff

Barbara Imhoff

Harpist, Barbara Imhoff, passed away on June 23, 2016 after a three year struggle to overcome ovarian cancer.

Barbara was a classical harpist who played with numerous Bay Area orchestras including the Napa Symphony, Vallejo Symphony and Oakland Symphony. In the early 1990’s, Barbara branched out to compose music for the harp. She created a fusion of world sounds using harp and other instruments. The pieces weave sinuous melodies, lush textures and hypnotic rhythms together for an original sound. Barbara and her bands produced many CDs, the most recent of which is The Bindi Society.

Barbara was a dedicated teacher who worked at Harps Etc and her home in Montclair. She is survived by her Mother, Evelyn Smart of Carmel, CA.

A celebration of life will take place on Saturday, October 1st, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact Jessica Siegel at harpsetc@pacbell.net for further information.


Elvira C. Cassell of Mill Valley, CA died on December 23, 2015. She was 94 years old. Elvira was a lover of the harp and friend to many harpists. She was a student of Marcel Grandjany and, according to her husband, Andrew, derived great pleasure from playing the beautiful instrument. Our sympathies go out to Elvira’s family.


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